For Today: BMW Concept X7 and i-Series launches coming up, AltCar Expo speaker panels next Friday

BMW electric launches in Frankfurt:  BMW will be showing the giant, three-row SUV, BMW Concept X7 iPerformance just ahead of of the Frankfurt auto show. It will be available as a plug-in hybrid that’s expected to be competitive in the luxury utility segment. Photos went out unexpectedly ahead of time. Production will launch in 2018. BMW executives have said the X7 will go on sale in the U.S. market in early 2019. There’s also an i-Series model, that could be the long-anticipated i5 sedan, that will be revealed next week. It will be one of 12 all-electric vehicles launched by 2025, bringing the total to 25 electrified vehicles offered, BMW’s CEO said.

Maven taking off:  Julia Steyn, vice president-Urban Mobility and Maven at General Motors, says that Maven is booming with its consumer base and revenue growing tenfold each month. Its fleet is scheduled to have 1,000 Chevrolet Bolts as GM meets Maven’s orders in the coming months. The 136 Bolts put into service over the first half of the year have logged 1.85 million miles so far. Its Maven Gig program people looking to make money providing rides through Uber or Lyft, or Grubhub food takeout deliveries, or Instacart grocery shopping and delivery.

AltCar Expo panels:  Just as a reminder, there’s a great conference coming up next week – AltCar Expo & Conference will be on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 15-16 in Santa Monica. Here are titles of the workshops and events for Friday:

  • Building the Foundation for a Sustainable Fleet
  • Fleets Tapping into Local Resources for Clean Vehicles & Fuels
  • AltCar Award Presentation
  • NAFA Awards & Scholarships
  • The Role Car Companies Will Play in Ever-Shifting Landscape of Future Mobility
  • The Latest on MUD and Workplace Charging Projects and Progress

And don’t forget to look at Saturday’s speaker panel and hours open for the ride and drive. I’ll be moderating the second fleet panel on Friday morning – looking forward to seeing you there.

For Today: Tesla Model 3 ahead of schedule, Teaser video on BMW i8 Roadster

Model 3 schedule announced:  Production of the Tesla Model 3 has cleared regulatory approval and is two weeks ahead of schedule, according to a tweet last night by CEO Elon Musk. The first production model is expected to go off the line this Friday. The first 30 will be delivered to customers on July 28th at a handover party. Musk said the company expects the first 100 cars will be finished in August, and then the ramp up will start with 1,500 or more September. It’s looking like 20,000 per month can be built beginning December, he tweeted. The Model 3 is on track to break the company’s pattern of delaying production and delivery of the Model S and especially the Model X.

Safe and sane:  Green Auto Market will take the day off tomorrow for Independence Day. Have fun and expect to get stuck in traffic.

BMW video on i8 Roadster:  BMW just released a teaser video of the BMW i8 Roadster, which is scheduled to come out next year. The convertible is shown in the video with its removable hardtop in place, covered in camouflage, and being blown over in a wind tunnel. That suggests the i8 Roadster is moving forward in factory and road testing so that it can go to production level. It will be the third member of the i-Series vehicles, and BMW is expected announce the fourth member sometime this year. In May of last year, BMW’s chief Harald Kruger confirmed during a press conference in Munich that the i8 Roadster has been approved for production.